The Oakland Raiders are 0-3, and the hits keep coming from Jon Gruden, the highest-paid NFL head coach in history.
At what point is this clearly a gigantic mistake? Do we have to get through half of Jon Gruden’s contract to accept Oakland making an error of $100 million proportions? If that’s the case, look for an article in Sept. 2022.
The Raiders are 0-3, and in all three of those losses, have been waxed in the second half. The mark of a good — or great — coach is being able to adjust and then winning the final 30 minutes. In the case of Gruden, everything is fine on the initial script. It’s the pesky rest of the game that keeps tripping him up.
Incredibly, it’s also his comments both during the week and after games that continue to amuse and befuddle. After losing 28-20 to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday afternoon, Gruden talked about needing to play better, about getting “this show on the road here hopefully soon.”
Hopefully soon? Gruden is the one who was handed a franchise-altering deal, the richest in league history for a head coach. He immediately blew up the roster, jettisoning Michael Crabtree before ensuing with the Khalil Mack fiasco that has him starring with the Chicago Bears. With some of the best players gone, Gruden brought in a who’s who from a decade past, and the results have been predictable and ugly.
Then there are the reports coming out that Gruden brought in his own personnel team, rendering general manager Reggie McKenzie and his pupils utterly useless. Why owner Mark Davis continues to pay them if that’s the case is a great mystery, but then again, so is the rationale to hire Gruden at such an obscene rate in the first place.
Gruden was never a great coach, and he’s more out of place and out of his depth than ever before. In his first run with the Raiders, Gruden went to the playoffs twice and won a pair of playoff games. In 2002, his first season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Gruden won the Super Bowl largely on the back of defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin and the roster of Tony Dungy.
Since that year, Gruden’s record is a haphazard 45-54 without a single playoff win. Yet here we are, with Gruden taking $10 million over each year of the next decade, because he left the Raiders with the intrigue of what could have been in his wake. He beat them in the Super Bowl, forever making him the one that got away.
But sometimes in life, it’s best to let that person go and believe in the path you are charting. Instead, the Raiders reeked of desperation and paid any price to find out what they missed out on, a decision they must be growing to regret.